Three Tips For Getting The Best Results When Framing Artwork

Guest article by Andrew Stratton

Many people have a tendency to run out and buy a frame for a piece of artwork in an effort to get it hanging in as little time as possible. However, such haste can only do a disservice to your artwork. Properly framing art requires analyzing it before ever considering the frame. Understanding the piece is critical to selecting the materials that will be used to frame it in as attractive a manner as possible.

Let's take a look at three tips that will allow you to read your art prior to framing.

Examine Color Value

The color value is a measure of where a color fits along the white-to-black scale. There are three primary concepts to keep in mind when considering color value: tint, shade, and tones. When a color is further toward white on the white-to-black scale, it's a tint. When a color skews toward black, it's a shade. Any colors that are moderate and lie in between are considered tones.

Watercolors and lighter, gentler paintings are mostly comprised of tints, for example. A dark oil painting is more likely to consist of shades. Identify the kind of work you're looking at and break down its collection of shades, tints, and tones. Decide which are the most dominant, because the colors and elements in your framing will look best when they reflect the artwork's dominant color values.

Determine Color Temperature

Is your work mostly comprised of warm or cool colors? You should have a pretty strong idea immediately after you've outlined the different color values. Warm colors are yellows, reds, and oranges, while cool colors are blues, greens, and purples. An autumnal-themed piece is likely to be comprised primarily of warm colors, for example.

Once you have selected the predominant color temperature (warm or cool), you'll be able to make informed decisions about the mat color, which acts as the background to the art when framed. For example, a mat with a red border may complement an autumnal piece with a red sunset and golden flowers.

Consider Composition Style

Understanding the compositional style is particularly important when selecting your frame. Consider your art: is it a modern piece, or is it more classical? Does the piece feature a setting in a city, or is it a more rustic affair? After determining the theme, compare it to the available frame moldings. If you have artwork with a rustic theme, consider selecting a simple wood frame. If you're working with a more modern piece of art, consider flat or box molding.

If you take the time to understand the elements that make up your work of art-color value, color temperature, and composition style-your art will benefit from a more beautiful and complementary selection of framing materials. This will add to your enjoyment of the piece for years to come.

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